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Submission + - NASA has a Plan to Send a Robot to the Moon (nytimes.com)

digitaldc writes: For less than $200 million, along with about $250 million for a rocket — NASA engineers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston say they can safely send a humanoid robot to the Moon. And they say they could accomplish that in a thousand days.

The idea, known as Project M, is almost a guerrilla effort within NASA, cooked up a year ago by Stephen J. Altemus, the chief engineer at Johnson. He tapped into discretionary money, pulled in engineers to work on it part time, and horse-traded with companies and other NASA units to undertake preliminary planning and tests. “We’re doing impossible things with really very little, if any, money whatsoever,” Mr. Altemus said.


Submission + - Ham Radio Operator Finds Cure For Cancer (latimes.com) 5

CirReal writes: "John Kanzius, K3TUP, himself suffering from cancer with nine months to live, used nanotechnology and a radio transmitter to kill cancer cells. "Kanzius did not have a medical background, not even a bachelor's degree, but he knew radios. He had built and fixed them since he was a child, collecting transmitters, transceivers, antennas and amplifiers, earning an amateur radio operator license. Kanzius knew how to send radio wave signals around the world. If he could transmit them into cancer cells, he wondered, could he then direct the radio waves to destroy tumors, while leaving healthy cells intact?" Reseachers "recently killed 100% of cancer cells grown in the livers of rabbits, using Kanzius' method.""
The Media

Submission + - Tux 500: Linux Powered Marketing (Indy 500)

MTinCT writes: Talk about trying to get linux into the spotlight and into the news! http://tux500.com/index.php Marketing Linux has always been a tricky proposition. As a community, we have relied on corporations who have a stake in the Linux operating system to market Linux to the world at large. Today, we have an opportunity to change that, and make Linux marketing as much a community effort as Linux development. That effort begins with the Tux 500 project. Our goal is simple: we want to collect community donations to enter a Linux sponsored car in the 2007 Indianapolis 500. We need your help! If less than 1% of the Linux community donates $1, this will happen... will you do your part? Our ultimate goal is to raise $350,000 or more in order to have Linux as the primary sponsorship on a car in the Indianapolis 500, on May 27th, 2007. Primary sponsorship means that we have a Linux logo prominently displayed on the side of the car, and we acquire the program's naming rights, i.e. "XYZ Motorsports Team Linux". This name appears in all media connected with the event, including USA Today's Memorial Day race weekend edition, the Indy 500 Official Program and the official race box score that becomes a permanent record of the race. We have identified a race team that we will sponsor, and have identified possible levels of sponsorship.

Submission + - Google Shareholder Proposal to Resist Censorship

buxton2k writes: Slashdot has had plenty of stories about technology companies like Google kowtowing to repressive political regimes such as China's. I'm an (extremely) small shareholder in Google, and I looked at their proxy statement today. Most of the time, shareholders' meetings don't deal with anything other than rubber-stamping the board of directors, but Google's upcoming meeting has a interesting shareholder proposal dealing with free speech and censorship to be voted on at the May 10 meeting.

The proposal cites the UN Declaration of Human Rights and declares that "technology companies in the United States have failed to develop adequate standards by which they can conduct business with authoritarian governments while protecting human rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression". If adopted by shareholders, it would call for management to adopt 6 minimum standards including: not storing data that can identify an individual in repressive countries; using all legal means to resist censorship; and documenting and publicizing "all cases where legally-binding censorship requests have been complied with." The proposal was submitted by the Comptroller of New York City, which owns large amounts of Google stock in City pension plans.

Is a proposal like this (assuming it ever passed) feasible to implement? Would it actually do anything to open up repressive regimes? Is this a reasonable balance between upholding liberal democracy values and doing business in dictatorships? Would it have any effect on domestic issues such as DMCA takedown orders? Most of all, as a shareholder, what is Google's board of directors' justification for recommending that shareholders vote AGAINST this proposal? If you are a Google shareholder, were you aware of this proposal, and if so, are you going to vote for or against?

Submission + - SCO Takes On PJ Herself, Files Motion to Depose

Vexler writes: In their latest attempt at a "scorch-earth" strategy to smear just about anyone related to this trial, SCO has filed a motion to depose Pamela Jones of Groklaw. According to this story, SCO accuses PJ once again of working with Novell and IBM while receiving assistance from them. Be sure to read the accompanying PDFs, but I suspect that PJ will have no trouble finding someone in the open-source community who has the legal training and resolve to defend her with vigor.

Submission + - Since when are computers infallible?

ApolloX writes: I've worked in the software industry for a number of years and I understand how volatile large computer and database systems can be. Most of the time, I'm only called in when something breaks. I know first hand that issues such as a lack of concurrency control, or just a bad database optimization, can lead to corrupted or even lost data.

What I don't know is, why most customer support representatives, in the event there is a data error, will treat the customer as if they are liars or trying to scam them. On a recent call to a company, let's call it Givo, my account number was accidently wiped from the system. Throughout the process, I spoke with half a dozen representatives who claimed I had never had their service before and at each step I was "guilty until proven innocent". What's worse was that at some moments, even when presented with evidence of my case history in their system, representatives would disregard it because the system told them my account did not exist and had never existed.

I can recall many similar support calls to other companies over the years in which the phrase "our computer system is never wrong" was repeatedly used as justification for an issue the representative knew little about. Since when did computers become infallible such that the customer is always wrong? Why does it take multiple escalations of support calls before anyone starts believing that maybe the computer made a mistake?

Submission + - Hackers offer subscription, support for malware

Stony Stevenson writes: Organised gangs are taking a page out of security vendors' books and setting up their own websites that offer support and subscriptions for malware and spyware.

From the article: "For subscriptions starting as low as $20 per month, enterprises can sell "fully managed exploit engines" that spyware distributors and spammers can use to infiltrate systems worldwide, said Gunter Ollmann, director of security strategies at IBM's ISS X-Force team.

Many exploit providers simply wait for Microsoft's monthly patches, which they then reverse engineer to develop new exploit code against the disclosed vulnerabilities, Ollmann said. "Then all you've got to do is just subscribe to them on a monthly basis."

Submission + - Massive star burps, then explodes

gollum123 writes: "Tens of millions of years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a massive star suffered a nasty double whammy ( http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/0 4/04_supernova.shtml ). Signs of the first shock reached Earth on Oct. 20, 2004, when the star was observed letting loose an outburst so enormous and bright that Japanese amateur astronomer Koichi Itagaki initially mistook it for a supernova. The star survived for nearly two years, however, until on Oct. 11, 2006, professional and amateur astronomers witnessed it blowing itself to smithereens as Supernova (SN) 2006jc. All the observations suggest that the supernova's blast wave took only a few weeks to reach the shell of material ejected two years earlier, which did not have time to drift very far from the star. As the wave smashed into the ejecta, it heated the gas to millions of degrees, hot enough to emit copious X-rays. The Swift satellite saw the supernova continue to brighten in X-rays for 100 days, something that has never been seen before in a supernova. All supernovae previously observed in X-rays have started off bright and then quickly faded to invisibility."
United States

Journal Journal: Gonzales Craziness 2

Everyone is still getting this story wrong. Everyone. Even conservatives. Even the National Review.

Gonzales never claimed he was not involved in the firings. He never claimed he was not in any meetings about the firings. He never claimed he was not in any conversations about the firings.

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Over the shoulder supervision is more a need of the manager than the programming task.